Flying fox facts

The role of flying foxes

Catch all the video fun from Sunshine Coast Council and co-host Libraries at the 6th Annual Australasian Bat Night!

What’s so good about flying foxes? Everything! Flying foxes play an important role in dispersing seeds and pollinating flowering plants and are crucial to keeping native forests healthy. Because flying foxes are highly mobile, seeds can be moved locally and over great distances. source Flying foxes are the foresters keeping the ecosystem together. source

Head to council’s website for more great flying-fox conservation information or Little Aussie Bat.

Check out the Southern Queensland Flying-fox Education Kit, which has some great material and was developed for integration into the school curriculum.

Did you know?

What’s the difference between bats and flying foxes? There isn’t one.

All flying foxes are bats or more accurately, mega-bats (big bats). Commonly known as fruit bats, their diet is made up of nectar, pollen and fruit – in that order. Flying foxes don’t use sonar like the smaller, insect-eating bats. They can also see as well as a cat at night and are super smart.

Sunshine Coast Libraries members have borrowed bats and flying fox related items 12,653 times! While you are on the couch, check out the range of gardening titles eMagazines and more through Libraries. Free access 24/7 with your library card.

Fun Bat Facts

  • Bats are flying mammals.
  • While others glide, bats are the only mammals capable of continued flight.
  • There are over 1000 different bat species.
  • Bats are nocturnal – active at night.
  • Microbats can see in the dark using a special skill called echolocation.
  • Worldwide, over 500 species of flowers in at least 67 plant families rely on bats as their major or exclusive pollinators. 
  • No Bats – No Tequila. Tequila is made from the agave plant, which relies solely on bats to pollinate its flowers and reproduce.

Fantastic Flying Fox Facts

  • There are several species of flying foxes.
  • The biggest flying fox have a 160.02 centimetre wing-span.
  • They are mostly vegetarian.
  • They can’t eat chocolate.
  • Colonies can be over a million in numbers in some places (particularly in the northern parts of their range whenever little red flying foxes are involved) but locally can be over 200,000 bats strong.
  • Mothers carry their babies when airborne.
  • Flying foxes, nectar and fruit eating mega bats from Australia, pollinate the dry eucalyptus forests, which provide us with timber and oils that are shipped around the world.

Famous Bat Characters

  • Benny the Bat from Disney
  • Batfink from the animated TV series
  • Stellaluna from the book written by Janell Cannon
  • The Bacardi Rum Bat
  • Ratbat from Transformers
  • The Batty Bat from the Muppets
  • Batty Koda from FernGully movie
  • Batgirl from DC Comics
  • Zubat from Pokemon
  • Batwoman from DC Comics
  • Bartok from Anastasia
  • And drumroll…… Batman!

Do you follow Frankie?

Like her friends, council’s Frankie is very busy flying and pollinating across the country and has been visiting several new places over spring and summer. In September 2019, Frankie snuck down to the nation’s capital and had a feed on all the wonderful flowers at the Floriade festival. She was then spotted foraging near the ‘Funky Forest’ at the Caloundra Music Festival over the October long weekend. 

After making an appearance at the ‘Creatures of the Night’ Bat Night on Halloween, she flew back down to Tamworth to help with their inaugural Bat Night. Keen onlookers will also have seen her up late and bringing in the New Year (because she’s nocturnal of course) at the Mooloolaba Fireworks. If you’ve had your photo taken with Frankie, share your story using the hashtag #frankietheflyingfox. 

You too can join Frankie for some fun by following a video walkabout at Pecan Park, located behind the Maleny Library. 


First time downloading from our eLibrary? Join online. Just enter your details for membership to access thousands of online resources.

Introducing the eLibrary Helpdesk Service! If you are looking for something to read, watch or listen to, Libraries have a huge range of online books, music, movies and magazines just for you. Contact libraries to get immediate and expert help with accessing and using the eLibrary on your device. eLibrary Helpdesk staff will help connect you to your favourite authors, the music you love, great movies to entertain the whole family and a great range of magazines. The eLibrary Helpdesk operates between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Get reading, watching and listening online and access the eLibrary now.

Boost pollinators in your backyard

Libraries love these Australian gardening eMagazines.

  • ABC organic gardener
  • Backyard and garden design ideas
  • Gardening Australia
  • Good organic gardening
  • Mother earth news

Access 200+ of your favourite magazines including Woman’s Day, Better Homes and Gardens, Australian Geographic, APC, Camper Austalia, Esquire and GQ. To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password. 

Flying Fox and Bat eBooks

Libraries love these Flying Fox and Bat eBooks:

  • Flying Foxes: Australian night foresters by Vivien Jones
  • Bat basics: how to understand and help these amazing flying mammals by Karen Krebbs
  • It’s a vampire bat! By Tessa Kenan
  • Bats love the night by Nicola Davies

Take these simple steps to access eBooks. Borrow up to 30 eBooks on your device. To get started download the ePlatform by Wheelers, RBDigital and Libby apps. Select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and passwords.

Flying Fox docos on the web

  • Flying Fox: The Wings of The Night – an in-depth look at flying foxes, the only mammals to have truly mastered the art of flying. 
  • Flying Fox Fairytale – Join Meredith Ryan, the flying fox foster mum in this documentary on rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned and injured flying foxes.
  • Meet the World’s Biggest Bat – see Australian black flying foxes with their huge wingspans – up to six feet!
  • TEDxCanberra – Tim Pearson hails one of Australia’s great unsung ecological heroes, highlighting the vital work Flying Foxes provide.

Flying Fox podcasts

Listen on the go with this Flying Fox related podcast episodes:

All podcasts are free and available to listen on: Android: Google Play, Procast, Downcast, Pocket Casts, AntennaPod and Player FM. iOS: Apple Podcasts app, RadioPublic, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Podbean and Stitcher. You can also stream podcast from Spotify. 

Flying Fox articles

All National Geographic magazine content from 1888. Also includes National Geographic books, images, maps and videos as well as National Geographic Traveler magazine from 2010. Sign in with your library member number.

Got Bats?

You found a flying fox – what now? Sunshine Coast Council has a great regional Flying Fox management plan.


If your bat is injured call RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).

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